More than 800 pounds of turkey, 90 gallons of gravy, 480 pounds of mashed potatoes and 400 pounds of green beans are just a few of the ingredients that are going into the Carson Nugget's annual free dinner Thursday.
Double that for the rest of the turkey dinners that will be sold in the restaurants that day, and you come up with a lot of people who will be working a lot of hours so that others can enjoy a holiday meal.
"Anybody who really needs a free meal and can't afford one can come to the Nugget's banquet room from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving," Executive Chef Alex Canas said Tuesday.
Canas, who is also the food and beverage director, said 850 people were served the free dinner last Thanksgiving, but he expects a lot more people this year.
"We offered this in previous years in the Garden Cafe, but it was always such an overflow crowd that we decided to do it in the banquet room because there is more space and we can make it nicer," he said.
Canas said this year also will be a little different because the dinner will be served buffet style.
"There will be 18-22 people from our management team who will be serving," he said.
The menu includes a house salad, bread and rolls, turkey with giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans almondine, traditional cranberry relish, sausage and apple stuffing, candied yams with marshmallows, fall harvest pumpkin pie and traditional apple pie.
"It's a beautiful menu," Canas said.
Last year, people were lined up at 8 a.m. waiting for the opening, Canas said.
"They came to the door early and they were lined up all the way from the outside to the banquet room door," he said. "We saw a lot of families and a lot of smiling faces."
The decades-long tradition of serving free holiday meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas is part of the Nugget's way of giving back to the community, Canas said.
"Our community has been very good to us and we are proud to be able to do this every year," Canas said.
"There are 600 pounds of onions and celery. They'll be dicing and dicing and dicing. That's what they do all day for the stuffing," he said. "They're very dedicated and everyone is working very hard to put all these meals on the table for people."
Bully's Sports Bar and Grill, 3530 N. Carson St., will also serve a free Thanksgiving meal from noon until 5 p.m. on Thursday. The sports bar teams up with the Boys and Girls Club of America for the annual feast.
While the dinner is aimed at helping the poor, anybody is invited to attend.